CES show to see changing of guard in tech sector

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Updated 08 January 2013
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CES show to see changing of guard in tech sector

The inexorable push for mobility in gadgets has reshaped the electronics industry, a shift that reflects a changing of the guard at the world’s biggest consumer technology show.
Gone from the 2013 International CES, to be held January 8-11 in Las Vegas, are giants such as Microsoft, and longtime tech stalwarts such as Intel and Hewlett-Packard are taking a back seat to firms focused on more portable, or even wearable, devices.
There will of course be big, dazzling displays of televisions that are smarter and bolder. However, a key focus is likely to be on devices that are mobile but can remain connected via the Internet cloud, from tablets to wrist watches, to Wi-Fi ski goggles.
“There is a changing of the guard,” said Danielle Levitas, a consumer tech analyst at the research firm IDC. “The shift we’ve seen over the past years has been on the mobile aspects of technology versus home entertainment. This continues to accelerate.”
Emblematic of the shift is the choice of the main keynote speaker — Qualcomm chief executive Paul Jacobs.
“Most people have never heard of Qualcomm. People might know they have a stadium with that name somewhere,” said Roger Kay, a technology analyst and consultant with Endpoint Technologies.
Semiconductor firm Qualcomm quietly overtook Intel in market value in 2012, a sign of the growing importance of mobile chips that reduce battery drag and are popular on smartphones and tablets, mostly using ARM technology licensed by British-based ARM Holdings.
“Qualcomm is the opposite of Intel,” said Kay, who points out Qualcomm’s reluctance to follow its rival’s strategy of branding devices with “Intel Inside.”
“It has been shy of the limelight and wants its partners to get all that credit. They are a reluctant hero. So important, and yet so unknown.”
With mobile devices gaining ground, “folks are interested in the services that are attached to consumer electronics at the show,” said Kevin Spain of Emergence Capital Partners, among the venture capital firms attending.
Spain said delivery of video over mobile devices is just starting, opening up possibilities for new ventures.
“Everything that is cloud is obviously white-hot in the venture community,” Spain said.
“People are interested in sharing content across a variety of devices and the cloud plays an integral role in that. Consumers expect to have a variety of content be available on demand: video, music, anytime, anywhere.”
Another focus at CES will be improving batteries and charging for all those mobile devices, according to Stu Lipoff, fellow of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers.
“One of the major limitations of portable devices is they are getting smaller and asked to do more, so people are finding innovative and creative ways of charging,” he said.
CES will feature a range of power pads on which a device can be placed for charging, Lipoff said, but other firms are eyeing technologies “where you can put a transmitter in the room and it will charge the device” from several feet away.
James McQuivey at Forrester Research said CES has evolved from a show in which manufacturers would sell their wares to a branding event. “It is shifting to a more abstract or long-term vision of technology,” he said. “It’s about branding, demonstrating you are innovating for the future.”
McQuivey said old guard firms like Hewlett-Packard and Dell, which have been struggling amid a move to mobile devices must demonstrate they are still part of the future. “It’s a challenge to get back in the innovation game,” he said. McQuivey said CES is different than in the past because the industry now revolves around a handful of big companies whose platforms are a key.


Thaw of Antarctic ice lifts up land, might slow sea level rise

Updated 22 June 2018
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Thaw of Antarctic ice lifts up land, might slow sea level rise

  • The fast rise of the bedrock beneath will lift ever more of the ice onto land, reducing the risks of a breakup of the sheet caused by warming ocean water seeping beneath the ice
  • The process was too slow to save the ice sheet from a possible collapse triggered by global warming

OSLO: Antarctica’s bedrock is rising surprisingly fast as a vast mass of ice melts into the oceans, a trend that might slow an ascent in sea levels caused by global warming, scientists said on Thursday.
The Earth’s crust in West Antarctica is rising by up to 4.1 centimeters (1.61 inches) a year, an international team wrote in the journal Science, in a continental-scale version of a foam mattress reforming after someone sitting on it gets up.
The rate, among the fastest ever recorded, is likely to accelerate and could total 8 meters (26.25 feet) this century, they said, helping to stabilize the ice and brake a rise in sea levels that threatens coasts from Bangladesh to Florida.
“It’s good news for Antarctica,” lead author Valentina Barletta of the Technical University of Denmark and Ohio State University told Reuters of the findings, based on GPS sensors placed on bedrock around the Amundsen Sea in West Antarctica.
Much of the West Antarctic ice sheet, which has enough ice to raise world sea levels by more than three meters (10 feet) if it ever all melted, rests on the seabed, pinned down by the weight of ice above.
The fast rise of the bedrock beneath will lift ever more of the ice onto land, reducing the risks of a breakup of the sheet caused by warming ocean water seeping beneath the ice.
The uplift “increases the potential stability of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet against catastrophic collapse,” the scientists wrote.
Last week, another study said that three trillion tons of ice had thawed off from Antarctica since 1992, raising sea levels by almost a centimeter — a worsening trend.
It often takes thousands of years for the Earth’s crust to reshape after a loss of ice. Parts of Scandinavia or Alaska, for instance, are still rising since the end of the last Ice Age removed a blanket of ice more than a kilometer thick.
A further report this month found that the West Antarctic ice sheet expanded about 10,000 years ago, interrupting a long-term retreat after the last Ice Age, because of a rise of the land beneath.
But it said the process was too slow to save the ice sheet from a possible collapse triggered by global warming.
One of the lead authors of that study, Torsten Albrecht at the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, told Reuters on Thursday: “The expected eight-meter (26.4-foot) uplift in 100 years in the Amundsen Sea region ... seems rather small in order to prohibit future collapse.”